Delaware Forest Service offers free wildfire training

 

DFS Fire Brochure
Wildland Fire Program Brochure

DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service is looking for motivated recruits to enroll in wildfire training classes starting in February at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Camden, DE. There is no cost for training and no previous experience needed. Classes will be held over two weekends: February 1 and 2, and February 15 and 16, 2020. Candidates must be over 18, physically fit, and able to travel for at least two weeks, usually in the summer. Attendance at all classes is required to achieve “red card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

Students can register by filling out the online registration form by January 31, 2020. Complete details are at de.gov/wildfire.

Students who complete the core set of courses (listed below) are eligible to attend “Fire Camp,” an intensive, hands-on, one-day seminar held in the spring of 2020. Students must also complete a “work capacity” or “pack test” – carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in 45 minutes or less – to receive their NWCG “red card” and participate on out-of-state fire assignments.

While all firefighters volunteer for out-of-state assignments, all positions are fully paid: A typical 16-day tour of duty will usually average between 220 and 250 working hours or about $4500 for an entry-level FFT2 position (firefighter Type 2).

Core Courses

  • S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior  (Saturday, February 1)
  • S-130: Firefighter Training (Sunday, February 2) plus (Saturday, February 15, and Sunday, February 16)

Prerequisites *

* Students must pass two prerequisite courses before classes and bring course completion certification certificates with them on the first day. These are online (below) at the FEMA website.

  • ICS-100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • IS-700 – An Introduction to the National Incident Management System

For more information, call 302-698-4548      Email: Kyle Hoyd

Delaware fire crew in California

 

Every year, millions of acres of forests across the United States are ravaged by wildfire. But thanks to a training program by the Delaware Forest Service, citizens from across the First State can qualify to serve on national fire crews. Since 1996, the Delaware Forest Service has trained more than 600 volunteer firefighters, and now every fire season deploys 20-person crews for out-of-state wildfire assignments.

Delaware’s program is growing and in need of additional firefighters who are interested in assisting the national effort to control and contain devastating wildfires. Delaware used to send only one crew a year, but now can send multiple crews. In 2018, Delaware sent crews to Colorado and Idaho, as well as engine crews to California.

Do you have what it takes to join the Wildfire Crew?

Download the Wildland Fire Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions:

Eligible crew members must be 18 years or older, complete all four training courses (see below), pass a work-capacity pack test, be willing to travel for at least two weeks, have a commitment to serving the public and work well with others.

Each year, the Delaware Forest Service offers courses required for certification under the National Wildfire Coordinating Group guidelines:

  • ICS-100, Introduction to Incident Command System (completed online)
  • IS-700, Introduction to National Incident Management System (completed online)
  • S-130 Firefighter Training
  • S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
  • In addition, an annual work capacity (physical fitness) test is required. To qualify, you must carry a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in under 45 minutes. A health screen questionnaire must be completed prior to taking the test. The capstone of the training series is an annual “Fire Camp” featuring hands-on instruction on a “live-burn” simulation.

Delaware wildland fire crews have worked on assignments in many states, including California, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

  • Camaraderie: You will be part of a well-organized and highly efficient team of dedicated wildland firefighters with whom you will share unique life experiences.
  • Adventure: No two assignments are exactly alike, but you can be sure that the crew will work in a picturesque area with challenging terrain features that offer spectacular vistas.
  • Experience: Your newly-acquired wildland fire knowledge and skills will improve your effectiveness in in-state incidents, including fire in the wildland/urban area.
  • NIMS Compliance: All firefighters work under the Incident Command System, and you will see first-hand how this system operates on a large scale.
  • Leadership: Advanced training for future roles at the squad boss and crew boss level are available for interested firefighters.
  • Financial Gain: Every firefighter position is fully paid. A typical 16-day tour of duty will usually average between 220 and 250 working hours.

Contact the Delaware Forest Service at (302) 698-4500, or write to 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

 

 


Fire Camp at Blackbird State Forest on March 30

Controlled burn at Fire Camp
A “live” burn will take place at the Delaware Forest Service’s annual “Fire Camp” at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday, March 30.

SMYRNA, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service will host its “23rd Annual Fire Camp” event at Blackbird State Forest (502 Blackbird Forest Road, Smyrna DE 19977) on Saturday, March 30 from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The intensive one-day seminar is the capstone of the agency’s wildfire training program to certify its emergency firefighters to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards. Last year, the Delaware Forest Service dispatched crews to Colorado and Idaho as the National Preparedness Level climbed to its maximum level of 5.

Delaware "Fire camp" crew meeting

The Delaware Forest Service’s Fire Camp fosters teamwork and unit cohesion among wildfire crew members.In addition to completing an arduous “work capacity test” – which involves carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes – crew members will receive hands-on instruction in several key areas: wildfire suppression techniques, how weather affects fire behavior, crew mobilization and teamwork, water pumps, and chainsaw usage. The event culminates with a “live” controlled burn fire situation.

Due to the event, state forest visitors should be aware that parking at the picnic pavilion and trail head areas on the Tybout Tract will be very limited. The training event will involve fire equipment and vehicles, chainsaws, and a planned burn exercise in the afternoon that will likely cause smoke in the area. Access to many areas will be restricted and/or congested. It is strongly recommended that recreation activities be moved to other State Forest properties. Horse trailers are advised to use the Reynolds farm parking area off of Van Dyke–Greenspring Road. Please call 302-653-6505 with questions.

Media contact: John Petersen
Delaware Forest Service
302-698-4552 (office) 302-233-8180 (cell)
john.petersen@delaware.gov

 


21st Annual “Fire Camp” set for April 23 at Redden State Forest

1_Fire Camp 2015
Veteran crew members (from left) Jeff Wilson of Clayton and Guy Cooper of Millville supervise a controlled burn as part of wildfire training for the Delaware Forest Service’s “Fire Camp” in 2015. This year’s camp is on Saturday, April 23 at Redden State Forest in Georgetown.

 

The Delaware Forest Service’s 21st Annual Fire Camp will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Redden State Forest from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. The intensive, one-day seminar is the capstone of the agency’s wildfire training program to certify its emergency firefighters to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards.

In addition to completing an arduous “work capacity test” – which involves carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes – crew members will receive hands-on instruction in several key areas: wildfire suppression, the effect of weather on fire behavior, crew mobilization, water pump and chainsaw usage, and culminating with a “live” controlled burn fire situation.

The Delaware Forest Service's southern regional forester Erich Burkentine of Milton leads crew members through the "live burn" training session at the 2015 "Fire Camp" for new wildland firefighters.
The Delaware Forest Service’s southern regional forester Erich Burkentine of Milton leads crew members through the “live burn” training session at the 2015 “Fire Camp” for new wildland firefighters.

Delaware’s wildfire program has achieved a well-regarded reputation on the national firefighting scene and has dispatched crews almost every summer to fight forest fires in the western United States. In 2015, more than 9.2 million acres burned nationwide, making it one of only four years since 1960 to see more than 9 million acres burn, but still short of the 9.8 million acres burned in 2006. Other years topping the 9 million acre mark were 2007 and 2012. In August of 2015, as the National Preparedness Level hit its maximum of “5” on a five-point scale, Delaware’s crew headed to the West to battle the Fork Complex Fire near Hayfork, California – a blaze that burned more than 36,000 acres in the vicinity of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

For the news media:
This event offers excellent opportunities for journalists to capture photographs and video footage of actual wildland firefighting. Firefighters and instructors will be available for interviews; however, media who plan to capture footage of the live burn are advised to arrive on-site on Saturday, April 23 by 12 noon.

  • Event and Media Contact: Kyle Hoyd, Assistant Forestry Administrator, Delaware Forest Service
    Email: kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov
    (302) 943-7869 (mobile)
    (302) 698-4548 (office)

* The timing and location of the “live burn” is subject to change based on actual weather conditions.

Starting second from left: Doug Rawling of Newark, Nicholas and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, and Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton construct a hand line as part of firefighting efforts on the Fork Complex, a 36,000-acre group of lightning-caused fires that burned near Hayfork, California last summer.
Starting second from left: Doug Rawling of Newark, Nicholas and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, and Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton construct a hand line as part of firefighting efforts on the Fork Complex, a 36,000-acre group of lightning-caused fires that burned near Hayfork, California last summer.

 


Delaware Forest Service to hold 19th “Fire Camp” at Redden State Forest on April 26

Delaware Forest Service veteran James Dowd of Townsend keeps a watchful eye on a controlled burn in a field at Blackbird State Forest as part of the agency's annual Fire Camp training session.
Delaware Forest Service veteran James Dowd of Townsend keeps a watchful eye on a controlled burn in a field at Blackbird State Forest as part of last year’s Fire Camp training session.

The Delaware Forest Service will hold its 19th Annual Fire Camp – an intensive one-day seminar to train volunteers in wildland firefighting  – on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (rain or shine) at Redden State Forest, 18074 E. Redden Road, Georgetown, DE 19947  (Phone: 302-856-2893).

Highlights of Delaware Forest Service’s “Fire Camp”:

  • “Fire Camp” marks the capstone of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual training cycle to ready its wildland firefighters for the upcoming summer fire season.
  • The intensive one-day course serves as a necessary prerequisite for firefighters to achieve yearly “red-card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) to serve on out-of-state fire assignments
  • Delaware’s crew is a well-regarded unit that has seen regular action battling blazes in the western United States since 1998. In 2013, Delaware dispatched a 20-person crew to an 85,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska as well as a subsequent crew that served a two-week assignment fighting wildfires near Terra, Utah and Riggins, Idaho.
  • The one-day seminar provides potential crew members with hands-on instruction in several key areas: wildfire suppression techniques, the influence of weather on fire behavior, crew mobilization and teamwork, pump and power saw usage, and most importantly, how to apply their experience to a “live” simulated fire situation.
  • In addition to training sessions and the “live” burn, many participants will also be completing an arduous work capacity or “pack test”—which calls for hauling a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes.  Passing this test is a required component of NWCG certification.

    One of the most important skills for a wildland fire crew is "digging line," which involves using hand tools such as a pulaski to create a fire break to contain an advancing fire.
    One of the most important skills for a wildland fire crew is learning to “dig line,” in which hand tools such as a pulaski help create a fire break to contain an advancing fire.

This event often offers compelling visuals of actual wildland firefighting and provides journalists with excellent opportunities to capture photos and other audiovisual recording. Firefighters and instructors will also be available for interviews; however, media members who plan to capture footage of the live burn are advised to arrive at the site on Saturday, April 26 by 12 noon.*

Event Contact: Henry Poole, Assistant Forestry Administrator, Delaware Forest Service
Email: henry.poole@delaware.gov
(302) 943-3593 (cell)
(302) 698-4548 (office)

* The timing and location of the “live burn” is subject to change based on actual weather conditions.